On a sadder note: Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Mike Collins dies of cancer at 90

by | Apr 28, 2021 | Apollo, On a Sadder Note, Seradata News

We are sad to report that the former Apollo 11 command module pilot and astronaut – and very much an unsung hero of the mission – Mike Collins has died of cancer at the age of 90. It was Collins’ role to orbit the Moon on his own in return Command and Service module – sometimes in radio silence as it passed behind the Moon – while his crew mates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their landing in their lunar landing craft. It was a personal dread of Collins that should something go wrong and the pair’s ascent craft could not rendezvous with his spacecraft he would have to return to Earth without them. In the end, however, the mission was a total success.

Collins interest in aerospace really started after he gained a degree in Military Science at the US Military Academy at West Point. Instead of joining the US Army afterwards, Collins decided to join the US air force and became F-86 jet fighter pilot. He later became test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base flying a variety of aircraft including the F-104 Starfighter and the B-57 bomber before he joined the Astronaut corps in 1963.  In 1966, Collins flew on Gemini 10 iwith John Young, during which Collins performed two spacewalks. Collins selected for the historic first lunar landing attempt, Apollo 11, which took place in July 1969. While some astronaut egos rubbed up against each other – most notably those of his crew mates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – Collins was well-liked by both.

Astronaut Mike Collins. Courtesy: NASA

Michael Collins, of course, found that his role on Apollo 11 was largely overlooked on the crew’s return but took part in the world tour that the crew was made to undertake.  Collins left NASA in 1970, and after brief period at the Department of State, he became Director of the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., later becoming undersecretary to the entire Smithsonian.  For a time he worked for LTV Aerospace and later as a consultant.  Collins was by all accounts a fine pilot, astronaut and man. We give him our salute and our condolences to his family and friends.

Apollo 11’s Command Module with Mike Collins aboard, as imaged from the lunar module. Courtesy: NASA

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Belated news: Our Apollo 11 crossword is now corrected…and we also publish its solution…

To celebrate the 50th Apollo 11 anniversary earlier this year, we ran a crossword to test the brains of our Read more

Apollo 11: UK Space Agency and NASA signed statement of intent for cooperation which could lead to Brit on Moon

The UK Space Agency and NASA have signed a new "Statement of Intent" to cooperate on lunar missions.  The declaration Read more

Apollo 11: The only woman in the Saturn V firing room

While positive discrimination policies may not be the answer given these have their own dangers of discriminating against others, it Read more

Space Arts: Amanda Holden drops another clanger while Major Tom could not go on air until Apollo 11 returned

British television personality Amanda Holden attracts the headlines. She was recently previously pilloried for wearing a too-revealing dress on the family Read more

On a sadder note: BBC Apollo TV coverage anchorman Cliff Michelmore passes away

Veteran BBC broadcaster, Cliff Michelmore has passed away at the age of 96. After serving in the RAF during World War Read more

On a lighter note: it is 45 years since Armstrong walked on the Moon so it might be time to collect Elon’s dandruff instead

While the urban legend joke about the moonwalking Neil Armstrong congratulating his childhood next door neighbour Mr. Gorsky under his breath on the Read more

Paris Air Show: Buzz Aldrin visits Flightglobal saying that Moon should not be NASA’s main exploration target

Legendary Apollo 11 astronaut who flew with Neil Armstrong to walk on the surface of the Moon in July 1969, Read more

NASA celebrates 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s speech committing USA to land man on the Moon

On 12 September 1962, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy announced to the world in a speech made at the Rice University, Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website

Categories

Archives